Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), the French mathematician and theologian known for Pascal's Wager.
This week, please read from page 127 ("The next week Frankenstein came to Napoli") to page 146 ("Well, I am Sigismundo Balsamo of Napoli, not the man in the moon.")
As with other sections of the book, I love the ironic statements, made with a straight face, made by characters who expect Sigismundo to read between the lines, i.e., Father Ratti saying, "We are most fortunate. The good Dominicans -- the ornament and glory of Mother Church and the model toward which all other, and hence lesser, orders can only aspire ... " (Page 131).
This sort of solemn sarcasm recurs in the book, as when Uncle Pietro says (Page 32), "The Dominicans act directly under the infallible command of our Holy Father the Pope, who is the divine representative of God on Earth. I meant no sarcasm. We are the luckiest people in Europe: where others flounder about in endless confusion and perpetual questioning, we have these good, holy men to tell us when we are thinking correctly and to correct us, with proper firmness, when we stray into error."
Surely people living in countries such as North Korea must know certain phrases that they have to repeat to demonstrate that they are loyal.
Pietro always expresses himself well, as on the next page (page 33) when he tells Sigismundo, "Leave murder to the professionals."
As I read the rant of the Dominican monk, going on for page after page, it seemed to be that Robert Anton Wilson had put together a long speech of everything that Wilson disagrees with. And so much of it sounds like what I heard from believers growing up in Oklahoma.
Sigismundo thinks about Pascal's Wager before deciding to reject what the monk says. Wikipedia says that Voltaire, one of Wilson's heroes, "rejected the idea that the wager was 'proof of God' as 'indecent and childish,' adding, 'the interest I have to believe a thing is no proof that such a thing exists'."
All of this seems very personal for Wilson, who had his own rebellion from the Catholic church, and perhaps also explains why Wilson related so closely to James Joyce.